Throughout our lives, our worries and stressors can grow increasingly complex.
Some nights, it is difficult to slow down and find restful sleep at the end of your day. As adults, we know that getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to our mood, productivity, and overall functioning. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults 26 and older sleep 7-9 hours per night, though many suffer from “sleep debt,” in which they do not experience the recommended amount of sleep on a consistent basis.
The Center for Disease Control reported that one third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. Insufficient sleep in adults is a serious health risk. It is noted that insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk of chronic medical conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and mental illness.
Sleeplessness negatively impacts our daily lives and keeps us from performing at our best. Adults are finding it harder and harder to disconnect from their lives and engage in healthy sleep habits. Evening and nighttime screen use, alcohol and caffeine consumption, medications, and overall stress levels can make restful sleep hard to attain.
Stress, anxiety,and depressionwere also identified as factors that led to sleep concerns in adults. We often try to make up for lost sleep on the weekends by sleeping in or taking naps throughout the day, however, these practices can cause more harm than good. “Banking” sleep can disrupt circadian rhythms and melatonin production (a hormone that regulates the sleep wake cycle).
A chronic loss of sleep and irregular sleep patterns has been linked to an increased risk of alcohol use, drug use, and risky behaviors. Furthermore, when an individual is sleep deprived, they may exhibit a lack of motivation, inattention, poor judgment, and difficulty with decision making and mood regulation. Research shows that adults that do not get the recommended amount of sleep report a higher risk of symptoms of depression. Additionally, sleep concerns are shown to be both a risk factor for developing depression, as well as predictor of relapsing if an individual previously experienced depression.
By integrating science, behavioral modification, and mindfulness techniques our psychologists can help you to get a better night’s sleep. In therapy, we can help to identify patterns that may keep you awake and help you to feel more rested during your day. Research has shown that addressing sleeplessness and insomnia will greatly improve the treatment of other mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety.